What we know ?
It is a busy Christmas period for Aston Villa fans not just on the field but also off it after reports claimed Villa, could face some FFP concerns in the coming months. Aston Villa could be the first Premier League team to fall foul of Financial Fair Play rules.
According to their accounts, Villa lost £36.1m in 2017-18 and have yet to publish their accounts for 2018-19, although the report claims that these will see them needing to raise money over the rest of the campaign to not hit the maximum loss of £61m they will be permitted.
How it all started ?
Back in October 2018, when Dean Smith was appointed as the new Villa boss, Purslow went on record, claiming he was ‘highly respectful’ of the rules. In December of that year, with Smith planning his first transfer window with the club, Purslow again confirmed that there was no requirement for a quick promotion and that the club was being ran ‘sensibly and sustainably’.
The reality however was that Aston Villa had a three-season spending of almost £100m in the Championship. With the Premier League parachute payments from relegation about to run out Villa, quite simply, had to gain promotion or face years of trying to rebuild from the ground up with youth-team players and cut-price deals. It’s fair to say they could have done a Sunderland if promotion had not been secured last term.
Aston Villa had a dream under Dean Smith which ended up with Championship promotion where the club narrowly avoided a breach of EFL’s profit and sustainability rules after the sale of Villa Park to owners Nasser Sawiris and Wes Edens. It is suggested that without the sale of the stadium and land near the Bodymoor Heath training ground, Villa would have been well over the permitted £13m loss over three seasons.
The club surprisingly was at its lowest ebb the day after the play-off final. A winding up order was served – the club was unable to meet a payment of under £5m to the tax authorities. Nassef and Wes sent in tens of millions of pounds directly into the club, clearing the liabilities and effectively creating a clean slate on which to build a recovery for the club.
This is where Aston Villa took a huge gamble where they purchased a dozen players using TV money ahead of schedule. The other promoted clubs – Norwich City and Sheffield United – signed 14 players combined. The Canaries spent as little as £3.75m while the Blades went bigger with their £40m-plus spend. It can invite a debate on both ends –
What did the Premier League want Villa to do this summer? Have a squad of 10 players and sprinkle in a few of the under-23s who are nowhere near ready for such elite-level competition?
What are the implications ?
Aston Villa will now begin to rein in their spending. They’ve built a new squad littered with players with exciting potential. The club will not be spending much – if anything – in January. That’s concrete. Aston Villa must “raise millions in player sales or wage savings before the summer in order to ensure they fit in with the Premier League’s spending limits”.
Aston Villa owner Christian Purslow said ” We feel like we’ve invested the additional TV money to try and make our great club competitive in the Premier League. We’ve bought a goalkeeper at 33, Mings at 26, the rest of the 10 are all 24 and under. They’re young players who we hope will establish themselves in the Premier League and grow their value. Far from being a liability, on the contrary, we’re trying to invest in players and grow their value.”
Where will money come from ?
The win over Derby is estimated to be worth almost £200m spread over three years. What’s more, Aston Villa continue to be backed by owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, who are estimated to be worth a combined £9bn. On good news, the owners of Aston Villa are smart and understand the cost of competing in the Premier League. The club has locked in manager who is supportive as well as knows who to grow the value of players around him in case the need comes to do some fire selling.
Things are not as bad as they may seem in the reports of FFP after all…